Arizona Military Museum has been closed due to the founder’s offensive remarks

    • Joe Abodeely, 80, a Vietnam War veteran, was ousted from the Arizona Military Museum after making offensive remarks.
    • The Arizona Military Museum was closed and lost state support following Abodeely’s comments.
    • The Arizona National Guard expressed concerns about Abodeely’s conduct and the future management of the museum.

The Arizona Military Museum, overseen by 80-year-old Vietnam War veteran Joe Abodeely for over four decades, has shuttered following controversial remarks made by Abodeely.

During a tour, he asserted that he would be succeeded by someone he described as “some gay, black, woman, woke Jew,” sparking considerable backlash. Consequently, the state withdrew its support from the nonprofit organization responsible for the museum.

Expressing concern over Abodeely’s comments, Brigadier General John Conley of the Arizona National Guard communicated these worries in a letter to Abodeely. Despite completing a diversity and inclusion course, Abodeely’s behavior remained problematic. Accusations included disparaging remarks about Americans and attributing a mannequin’s pose to represent gay soldiers. The 86-year-old museum, once operated by the Arizona National Guard Historical Society, now faces an uncertain future.

Abodeely’s actions contradicted his prior public statements condemning racism and division. His reluctance to step down, despite the turmoil and a request to do so, prompted the state to search for a new entity to manage the museum. This incident highlights the tension between preserving the legacy of a longstanding institution and ensuring respectful, inclusive conduct from those in leadership positions.

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